How to improve safety for solo workers
Some common injuries include soreness, sprains and lacerations, mainly due to overexertion, slips, falls and trips. Nevertheless, reducing injuries and fatalities is a priority for many industries.
One of the most vulnerable employees is one that works alone. They're exposed to high-risk situations each day, primarily if they work in the service, transportation, manufacturing or construction industries. If something goes wrong, no one is around to help. As a result, their safety should be of top concern.
Identify potential risks and learn how to take preventative action.
What can businesses do to improve solo worker safety?
Organizations can improve solo worker safety in several ways. To reduce injuries, they can implement company-wide policies, train employees, conduct thorough risk assessments and much more.
Thoroughly train employees
Training employees and educating them about dangerous situations is one of the most critical aspects of security. Take time to teach solo workers about hazards and risks. Show them how to avoid and prevent dangerous situations. According to one study of 2,358 companies, manufacturing establishments can reduce toxic exposure events with a formal safety training program.
Businesses should also educate employees on how to use machinery. Take the time to outline safe work habits. It's also crucial to continually train and evaluate supervisors and management to ensure they're up-to-date on current safety standards. If upper-level employees don't follow proper protocols, they'll pass along bad habits to others.
Conduct risk assessments
Risk assessments, which companies should perform regularly, can identify areas of potential risk and places in need of improvement regarding workplace safety. These assessments can be used to pinpoints risks specific to solo workers. Consider the types of machinery used and understand anything that can go wrong. If employees use hazardous materials, identify the consequences of incorrect handling.
Once companies identify all potential risks, they can implement relevant safety procedures and educate workers. They should also revaluate as new risks develop. For example, a business may change paint suppliers to one that uses a new chemical. In another scenario, employees made need to learn how to operate new equipment, like side loaders.
Practice proper planning
Proper planning can eliminate or prevent workplace hazards, especially in a warehouse environment. Companies should design buildings and workspaces with safety in mind.
To start, keep pathways to exit and emergency routes well-lit and free of debris. In the U.S., falls are the number one cause of fatal workplace accidents, causing more than 39% of deaths.
In warehouse and storage areas, ensure workers stack and secure boxes and containers correctly to avoid falling items. Other common injuries include electrocutions and getting caught in machinery. Companies should train all workers on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and when they should wear it.
Use an alert system
We live in a world where technology rules. From personal to professional, it allows people to complete daily tasks. Businesses can also use it to increase worker safety. Some have already put technology to the test with the use of safety apps.
With an app, solo workers can use their smartphone to check-in after a lengthy travel session or request assistance. Someone on the other end monitors the app's activity in real-time and responds within seconds. Supervisors can also use the technology to view workers' locations and send direct notifications.
Solo Worker Safety — A Top Business Priority
When it comes to workplace safety, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, businesses must take steps to plan ahead, identify risk and utilize technology.